NEW DELHI (TIP): His wards might have failed to break the medal jinx at the just-concluded Rio Olympics, but Indian men hockey team’s chief coach Roelant Oltmans says their results in the quadrennial extravaganza were satisfactory if not ideal.
India finished fourth in group stage having won two, drawn one and lost two. One of India’s win came against eventual gold medallists Argentina.
But the Men in Blue failed to go beyond the quarterfinals having lost 1-3 to silver medallists Belgium.
“The results were satisfactory if not ideal according to our preparations. But looking back we can see that in every game we pushed our opponents till the very end,” Oltmans said after returning to India here on Thursday.
“This is a team of high quality. Sometimes the results don’t accurately display the performance. In this case, I think the team has learnt a lot. It deserves a short break, and then, very soon, it will be back to the grind,” he added.
With some strong performances in the lead up to the Rio Games that included a silver medal finish at the FIH Champions Trophy in London, the expectations from the Indians were very high in the Olympics. But after a strong start, the PR Sreejesh-led side dished out some inconsistent performances to exit from the last-eight stage of the competition.
Sreejesh feels the Rio Games have been an eye opener for each and every member of his side. “For all of us the Olympics has been a great eye opener and a huge life experience. As professionals we always dream of representing our country at the highest level and the Olympics is the highest. I’m proud of the team for the way we played,” he said.
“Barring some small moments, our performance was very good. Now we have to focus on correcting all the things we got wrong and believe in ourselves for the future.”
The women’s hockey team, which represented the country in the Olympics after a long gap of 36 years, also returned to the country alongside their male counterparts on Thursday.
The Indian eves, ranked lowest among the participating teams, however had a disastrous campaign losing all their games barring a draw against Japan in their tournament opener.
“It was always a dream for us to represent India at the Olympics. There was a fear of getting overawed by the occasion, but we didn’t and I am proud of the team for that.
“Ours is a young team and we have already made a small mark in the world stage. Now we have to try and get better and make that mark more and more visible,” Indian women’s team captain Sushila Chanu said.